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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast



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Am I the only self-respecting Milwaukee guy who's not lining up to smooch the posterior region of the Bucks' first round draft pick?

Yi Jian Lian, Chinese super star player was the 6th overall pick in this year's NBA draft, but you don't have be a basketball fan to have an interest in how his story plays out. Yi has made abundantly clear he doesn't want to come here. He's never visited. He's barely had any contact with the Bucks or anyone from Milwaukee who might even tell him about our city. Still, he knows he doesn't want to come here.

Stated reasons include Yi's desire to play in a bigger market, and to play in a city with a greater Chinese population.

The Bucks, to their credit, knew this and drafted the best player at that draft position anyway. They have since put their best efforts into wooing Yi. Senator and Bucks owner, Herb Kohl has reportedly written a letter to Yi touting the team and our city and inviting him to give us a shot. It's certainly their place to do this, and I don't fault either the Senator or the Bucks from rolling out the red carpet and playing nice to catch this fly with honey.

I will engage in no such act, however. As a Bucks fan, and a man who was born in Milwaukee and raised in Southeast Wisconsin now choosing to raise my family here, I guess I take some pretty serious offense to anyone who doesn't have time even to entertain the thought of locating here.

I'm still not certain how a man raised in Communist China gets such a dose of individualism. You're applying for a job in the NBA, and this is how the company works. You go where you're drafted. Deal.

How about Yi's other contention? Not enough Chinese people here? What? Over here, we celebrate other cultures, no doubt. One need only look at Milwaukee's litany of ethnic festivals to understand that we value our heritage and that of our friends and neighbors. But, I'm sorry there are so many Americans here in America. We apologize. Really. 

What if any of us were about to open a business in China, but expressed to the world that we were really hoping Beijing had more Americans to make us more comfortable. Seriously. There would be international outrage. Ah, the Ugly American rears his ignorant head. I can see Uncle Sam caricatures in editorial cartoons across the globe.

Finally, Yi stands to make millions of dollars a year for playing a game. He stays here 3 years and hates it... fine. Thanks for playing, and good luck. You paid your dues. For that kind of money I think a lot of us would live anywhere for a few years. I'd move my family to Baghdad for the kind of cash Yi stands to make by signing up and sticking it out in Milwaukee.

Truth be told, we didn't want you either. We were debating whom we would would rather have... Kevin Durant or Greg Oden before the bouncing lottery balls didn't bounce our way.  So I guess we're even.

So here it is, dude, you end this nonsense, come and give us your all... I'll stand and cheer at the Bradley Center. I hope it works out. I do. If it doesn't, and we somehow get short-changed in this deal... I'll pay for a court-side seat so I can boo you the whole game.


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